Top 5 hacks for when you run out of smoking papers

Two men and a woman holding alternatives for smoking papers

Every dedicated cannabis user ought to be carrying around a kit of essential items at all times. Omitting this crucial aspect of the stoner routine is just unprofessional. But even the best of us get caught out at times, and go to roll a joint only to discover there are no smoking papers to be found. You may find yourself asking: what can I use as rolling paper?

1. Find a substitute for paper

We all remember schooldays when someone managed to smuggle in an eighth but—surprise surprise!—didn’t manage to steal any smoking papers from out of their big brother’s stash box.

And then eventually you all end up huddled behind the sports hall frantically trying to roll joints out of toilet paper, magazine covers and old receipts, and you’ve wasted most of the weed so far trying to do it…

So thank heaven that those days are long behind (most of) us, and we now have an array of superior options to go for, in the astoundingly rare event that we plan poorly enough to run out of OCB’s and there’s nary a head shop to be found.

If you happen to be artistically-minded, or just the type of person that likes to do brass rubbings when out and about, you may be the kind of person who carries around tracing paper in their pocket!

Tracing paper is actually a pretty good alternative for smoking papers, if you have the thin, high-quality stuff. Much better than a magazine or a receipt, anyway—but yeah, perhaps not the most common pocket item.

2. Gum paper

On the other hand, if you’re just a regular, uncreative Joe with no tracing paper about your person (you poor peasant), you may still be in luck if you happen to have a few sticks of gum in your pocket. That silvery foil stuff that your sticks of gum come wrapped in?

If you can rub the foil part off without damaging the paper underneath, that paper can act as a pretty reasonable substitute Rizla—and as a bonus, all the sugary-gummy residual goodness left on the paper should help stick it together, with a little help from your tongue.

3. Roll up a corn husk

Although this technically counts as a replacement rolling paper, it’s so good it deserves a section of its own. The outer layers of an ear of sweetcorn can be dried and used as a natural rolling paper, and probably represents the least harmful option listed so far!

The husk is naturally soft, flexible and fibrous, and retains these qualities even when dry.

Corn cob and dried corn leaves

Many countries that produce both corn and cannabis use corn husks to roll joints as a traditional method of consumption. In Jamaica, an island that is globally known for its high-quality cannabis, sun-drying corn husks to later use as rolling papers is a widespread practice.

Here they are typically soaked in water briefly prior to rolling, to ensure that their flexibility is maximised.

Mexico and the USA are other countries where cannabis users report use of this method—in the USA, pre-dried corn husks can be purchased in the Mexican section of many large supermarkets, particularly in the South.

As well as corn, fibres from several other plants can substitute for rolling papers—and may even prove preferable in terms of flavour, as many report the ‘papery’ taste to be absent. The fibrous inner membrane of bamboo is one substitute, and the bark (or the layer beneath the bark) of several trees is light and flexible enough to be used.

4. Make a bucket/lung

Making substitute pipes is another approach to the problem of being caught out without smoking papers or bong. There are various different ways to achieve this, from using an apple or a bell pepper to constructing ambitious devices out of old electronics and scrap metal.

Here we’ll briefly describe two related methods that are capable of packing a serious punch, but do not require any hard-to-find items.

Both techniques require a 2-litre (or similar) empty bottle, such as one used to contain water or soft drinks. The bottle must be cut in two, approximately 1/3 of the way up from the bottom. A piece of tin foil shaped to fit the mouth of the bottle and pierced several times to allow airflow is also needed.

To make a lung, simply use tape to attach a plastic bag to the cut end of the bottle; once secure, scrunch the bag up inside the bottle.

  • Then place some cannabis onto the foil ‘gauze’, which should be loosely placed on the mouth of the bottle.
  • Use a lighter to burn the cannabis while using your other hand to pull the plastic bag out of the bottle—by doing this you create a vacuum inside the bottle, which causes air (and smoke) to rush into the chamber.
  • When the bag is fully extended, remove the foil from the bottle and inhale the smoke from inside the bottle.
  • A bucket (also known as a gravity bong) functions similarly, but uses a large (at least 10 litre) bucket filled around 2/3 full with water. The bottle is placed into the bucket and held down so that it does not float up.
  • The foil is placed on the mouth of the bottle, cannabis is placed on it and burned, and the bottle is slowly raised up, causing the vacuum inside to become filled with air and smoke.

5. Do hot-knives

“Hot-knives” is one of the oldest and most well-known methods of consuming cannabis in the absence of a paper or pipe. It is also one of the simplest—but can potentially be quite dangerous, so great care must be taken especially if already intoxicated! All you need is a heat source such as a gas or electric stove, two knives and some cannabis.

Some also prefer to use a straw or a rolled-up piece of paper to inhale the smoke, to avoid getting too close to the source of the heat, but this is not always necessary.

  • Simply switch on the stove and bring it up to a medium-hot temperature. Once it is hot, hold the blades of the two knives immediately above the heat source for a short time (usually 1-2 minutes is sufficient).
  • Ensure that the handles of the knives are away from the heat source to avoid damage to them (and injury to you!). Then, carefully place a small piece of cannabis on to one of the knife blades, and press the other knife blade down onto it so that the cannabis is ‘sandwiched’ between two hot metal blades.
  • The cannabis should begin to smoke immediately, so be ready to inhale as soon as contact has been made to avoid wastage. The advantage of this technique is that it can be used for any type of cannabis—flowers, hashish and even concentrates! This wide ranging application is the reason that hot-knives remains one of the most popular and well-known techniques in the book.

6. Buy a vaporizer

A permanent solution for the forgetful cannabis users is to find a different way of using. If you never want the problem of getting caught without smoking papers again, have a look at the pocket sized vaporizers that are out there.

  • Disclaimer:
    Laws and regulations regarding cannabis use differ from country to country. Sensi Seeds therefore strongly advises you to check your local laws and regulations. Do not act in conflict with the law.


137 thoughts on “Top 5 hacks for when you run out of smoking papers”

  1. Everyone loves itt whenever people come together and share opinions.
    Greeat website, keep it up!

  2. Fuck dude I usually use an apple and a pen, drive two deep holes in the apple, one from the top and the other from the side, roll a filter using some paper and stick it it badabing badaboom good pipe with free munchies after

  3. I come here looking for substitutes for rolling papers and one of your suggestions is to buy a vape?! Get bent.

    1. Patsy Larue

      I love your response, u took the words right out my mouth lol but yes your definitely right like how we go from rolling cannabis to use a vape, 🤷🏾‍♀️🤦🏾‍♀️not the same thing their out of line 😂😂😞🤐🤦🏾‍♀️🤦🏾‍♀️🙅🏾‍♀️🙅🏾‍♀️ We trying to smoke 💨

    2. Just read dude. Title is literally Top “5” hacks for when you run out of papers, and the vape is a 6th option, obviously as long lasting alternative. It’s just extra info.

  4. The wrapper that comes in an Altoid container works. And if you suck on an altoid while rolling it helps stick ✌🏼 The more ya know

  5. gonna try out the corn husks and get back to you. tracing paper seems good tbh, tried it out yesterday.

    1. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

      Hi Caleb,

      Thanks for sharing your feedback, good luck with the corn husks! Let us know how you get on please.

      With best wishes,


    2. Hey to answer your question yes it works just inhale like a bong rip it doesn’t burn the husk but it burns the weed have fun cooking and getting baked✌️

      1. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I just used the wrapper paper of a band aid to roll up idk how safe this is though lol kind of had harsh taste

  6. Just finished corn harvesting eat smth and figured im out of paper (tobacco) .
    Dont you love internet

    1. Just tried it cause I had some on hand, seemed alright tbh but I wouldn’t recommend using white filters bc those are bleached. I used brown filters and didn’t notice any off tastes at all but it does like to burn pretty quickly. Overall manageable, works if desperate, would recommend hemp or bible paper instead.

      1. bathtise it (witch by means just lick all over it until it’s all we then ya )(my friend taught me that)

  7. The paper that says 5 left there is in ur normal papers, the papers work to smoke with, just made one now, and disolved sugar in hot water to make it stick, tastes fine and i get high ! 👍🏻

    1. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

      Hi Sofia,

      Great tip, especially the sugar water glue! Thanks for sharing, and I hope you continue to enjoy the blog.

      With best wishes,


    1. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

      Hi Phoofy,

      You mean like paper cupcake cases? Nice one!

      With best wishes,


    2. Hi phoofy could you please tell me your experience with the muffin holders and what type :))

  8. Bible paper seems like a great one to use, but how do i get it to stick without using some type of glue?

    1. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

      Hi there,

      You can try chewing bubblegum or chewing gum, then licking the paper. The stickyness from the gum will help to glue it together.

      With best wishes,


      1. Robin Bjerregaard

        Oatmeal works best 😉 I’ve literally “Frankensteined” little scraps of rolling paper together into a whole paper using oatmeal “glue”:D

  9. My country banned cigarette and roing paper sales for the corona lockdown. Bruuuh, im running out of alternatives too!

    1. bro even though its banned u can get them , most of the sellers try to sell it from under the table, now u know wht i mean…

  10. so would the wrapping paper b good? like the thin paper u throw in gift bags? (white/plain w no dye)

    1. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

      Hi Carlos,

      That would be better than thick paper or printer paper, for sure! Good luck 🙂

      With best wishes,


  11. Hi, I’m wondering whether I can use a regular white paper? It doesn’t stick to itself so I had to use non-toxic glue, but idk if it’s safe to use that.

    1. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

      Hi Michelle,

      I really don’t recommend it, the paper burns too fast and makes a really unpleasant smoke – it would be a shame to waste cannabis on it! Plus I have no idea if the glue is still non-toxic if you’re inhaling the burning fumes of it. Hopefully one of the ideas in the article or the comments will inspire you!

      With best wishes,


  12. you can just make a pipe out of an apple, no need to roll and then you can eat the apple for the munchies

  13. I am an herb man so I know all the plants in my neighborhood (yes first name basis). So I go outside either pick the dry leaves or fresh from any edible non poisonous plants. If I use fresh leaves then I make chillum style otherwise dried leaves like banana worked well for me.

  14. BadboyMonkeyman

    Isn’t hack No.2 the same as No.1?

    In fact, hack No.1 (find a substitute for paper) is what No.2 & No.3 are (gum paper and corn husks).

    And then No.4 & No.5 are just different ways of smoking weed. Defo not “You may find yourself asking: what can I use as rolling paper?” Lol, yeah a lung makes a good rolling paper.

    I actually clicked on this article because I am out of cig papers and thought that I might find something amongst your “Top 5 Hacks for when you run out of Rolling Papers” to inspire me… But, nah.

    1. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

      Hi Ken,

      I’ve never tried it, but if it’s really waxy then it’s probably not a good idea! Maybe try burning a little first to see how it flames and smokes before rolling with it?

      With best wishes,


    1. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

      Hi Roosa,

      If by ‘normal paper’you mean ‘rolling papers’, please check the title of this article 😉

      If you mean regular paper like you would put in a printer – have you tried rolling with it? It’s basically impossible, and if you do manage it, the paper burns too quickly and with a thick, unpleasant smoke. Unless you’ve got some secret method of making it work, in which case, we’d love to hear it!

      With best wishes,


  15. You can use receipt paper, just make sure you rub out all traces of ink with acetone and cotton ball, make sure it’s completely dry then wet it with some water let it dry and roll your joint

  16. Can you smoke the blue packaging papers from top papers ( the two blue papers in the top cigarette papers package)

    1. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

      Hi Atlanta,

      Thanks for your comment. As with previous questions, I think the answer is probably yes you can, but they aren’t going to taste very nice and will be harsh on your lungs!

      With best wishes,


  17. Luxury packaging

    there is so many type of thin paper. the thin paper uses different packaging such as cannabis cone boxes, books, and so on.

  18. EASY METHOD: if you have any brown paper bag wet it soak it let it dry for like 15-20 minutes and roll your weed

  19. This is a great idea. Thanks for posting. This is more informative for me. keep posting as well.

    1. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

      Hi Rob,

      I think you mean the paper around the tubes, but for a second I imagined the actual cardboard tube full of cannabis, like the blunt from hell 😀 so thanks for that!

      With best wishes,


  20. I used thin paper from my niece’s art notebook. It came out way better than I thought. The paper stuck well to itself and it didn’t have much of a weird flavor.

  21. I used thin paper from my niece’s art notebook. It came out way better than I thought. The paper stuck well to itself and it didn’t have much of a weird flavor.

  22. babyybeanzz

    This is like, underage smoker heaven, this blog LMAO. I’ve been using newspaper pages and I just kinda crumple the end so nothing falls out, it works pretty well imo.

  23. Ok thanks for the suggestions! But how to roll a joint with paper? How to make it stick???

    1. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

      Hi Janey,

      If it’s thin paper, you can try ripping one edge so that it’s a bit ‘frayed’ and ragged, then moisten it and try to get it to stick together in a kind of papier-mâché way. If you chew gum and then lick it, it will probably work better. Good luck 🙂

      With best wishes,


  24. Maya Nicholson

    can you just use ordinary paper? or will it hurt your lungts, like while youre smoking will it hurt it, like not the health part. but will it be in pain?

    1. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

      Hi Maya,

      Thanks for your comment. Ordinary paper will burn really quickly, and because it is so thick, yes, the smoke will almost certainly hurt your lungs! If you check the rest of the comments, you will see that the majority of suggestions are for types of paper that are thin, for these reasons.

      With best wishes,


    1. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

      Hi Paige,

      I’ve never tried, so I can’t answer this one I’m afraid – anyone else?

      With best wishes,


    1. Holy fkin shh.. mate, you’re on the right path😂😂 no idea if we should do it though, imma try it out rn

  25. Your a damn fool who the hell smokes off a butter knife?no one wants to get burnt and stabbed or both on accident .dumbass

    1. Perhaps you’re the fool if you don’t know what a ‘hot-knife’ is and/or can’t be trusted with a butter knife without burning or stabbing someone…

    2. I use to do knifies… (Knife-Eees) all the time. It actually works great. I’d do them even when I had a bowl.

  26. Cigarette are easier to get. Empty it up without opening or cutting it. Put ua stash inside. You can smoke with the or without the filter, without makes u high faster.
    Your welcome

    1. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

      Hi John,

      I think parchment would be too thick to work effectively, but I could be wrong. Please let us know what happens if you try it!

      With best wishes,


    1. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

      Hi Andrew,

      I’m afraid I can’t answer that one, if you give it a try please let us know the result?

      With best wishes,


    1. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

      Hi there,

      Interesting idea! The coloured type would probably taste quite bad, since it’s saturated in ink, but the white stuff might not be too bad – have you tried either?

      With best wishes,


      1. How do you make the paper stick to itself do I like it like normal rizla

      2. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

        Hi there,

        If using the paper in gift bags, rip one side slowly so you get a kind of frayed edge, with the fibres of the paper being more ragged than if you’d used scissors and made a straight cut. Lick this edge, lick the surface of the rolled bit where you want the edge to stick, and gently smooth the two together, like you would with a regular smoking paper. Be really gentle because making tissue paper wet makes it far more likely to rip, and you don’t want to make a big hole in the side of your joint, obviously. Hopefully this will be enough to hold the joint together if you don’t take ages smoking it! You’re aiming for a kind of papier mache effect where the paper is going to get just mushy enough to stick to itself without ripping. It takes practice (believe me, I know) but it can work.

        A way to make this even easier is to chew gum before you do the licking, as the stickiness will help to hold the paper to itself.

        Good luck!

        With best wishes,


  27. Hrh.mighty boss blunt ??

    Life saver jonzing to burn up loud stash grand master cookie cookie oj cus been sipping lyn all day,u see am from nigeria (apologize to any 1 whom has had bad xperinces with some of my compatriot’s just hope u won’t hold it against me cuz we ain’t all bad)so getting drugs n paper ain’t that hard but its late n every onez dead lol zomibefied ? or just closed….so thanks to u all

  28. Well.. even at grannys.. there will always be a teabag… and that paper seems to be quite a good one

    1. Best idea! Partner and I are staying in a hotel and have no papers, we have empty Maccies stuff though!! Life saver
      Been scrolling for ages 😂

  29. hydrohauser

    on the individually wrapped chewing gum wrappers, you can pull a semi transparent paper off the shiny aluminum life side. its a good size. burns great, too. unsure how good it may be for ones lungs though…

      1. Diangela Edwards

        Dude it already did but the gas station is always open but I do know that the wrap on the toilet paper rolls is perfect I’ve tried it. It don’t mess up the flavor of the weed and it burns pretty slowly. You use honey to stick it together, pretty easy.

  30. Travel to another country! you have stash but no papers or device!! Hahaha. This article becomes of great interest!! Thanks.

    1. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

      Hi Ashley,

      Thanks for your comment. You could try using notebook paper but it will probably be too thick to burn well. Depending on how much dye is on the paper, it might make you feel a bit sick; it’s certainly not good for you, but it’s not going to kill you if you’re only using it in emergencies. I was once stuck without papers at Xmas and discovered that the thin paper party hats that are inside crackers make a really good substitute. There was a bit of an inky flavour (it was a purple hat) but the paper burned really well and even stuck to itself! I have also rolled joints using pages out of the bible, which are usually very thin. They don’t stick together on their own, but they also burn well.

      Good luck!

      With best wishes,


      1. The ink from the pages in books isnt the best thing to inhale. Use RAW kingskin hemp papers. you can buy them on amazon and pretty much anywhere

      1. Sry this has nothing to do with weed but i am commenting bc ive never seen the name vada in something that didnt retaliate to me.

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    The Sensi Seeds Editorial team has been built throughout our more than 30 years of existence. Our writers and editors include botanists, medical and legal experts as well as renown activists the world over including Lester Grinspoon, Micha Knodt, Robert Connell Clarke, Maurice Veldman, Sebastian Maríncolo, James Burton and Seshata.
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